By Kavin Senapathy –
FUD, which stands for fear, uncertainty and doubt, is a disinformation strategy dating back to the early 20th century. It was perhaps most famously employed by Microsoft, which integrated it as a corporate practice to grow market share. As Tom Laskawy described it in Grist:
“The concept may go back as far as the 1920s, but it was Microsoft (inspired by IBM) that institutionalized it as a corporate practice. FUD was (and to some extent is) a strategy designed to maintain Microsoft’s hold over its customers. “Sure,” Microsoft sales reps would say, “You could switch to [Apple/Linux/Lotus Notes] but here’s what will happen…” They would then shower wavering customers with horror stories about the competitor’s reliability, compatibility, even viability as a company. It was, as we know, very effective.”
In this decade, FUD is no more ubiquitous than in the world of food and, more recently, “clean” trends in eating, personal care products and more, despite the concept’s nebulous definition and pointless and often harmful execution. Though scientists and critics have thoroughly lambasted the clean craze, pointing out that it’s founded on bad science and can trigger eating disorders in those predisposed, the movement shows few signs of stopping.
Enter the Clean Label Project, which made a splash after releasing a study on Wednesday alleging that many of the best-selling baby food and infant formula products on the market (determined by Nielsen data) contain arsenic, lead, acrylamide and other “contaminants.”